Posted 19 February 2007 - 10:06 PM
The Canadian Government, in the formation of the first motorized machine gun brigade in the Commonwealth, also contracted with the Colt firearm company for Colt machine guns. These machine guns were later replaced with the Vickers machine gun in 1916. The following is an excerpt from the Brutinel Tapes which I recently transcribed.
Sir Clifford asked me to prepare for the following day,
2nd of August, 1914, a note concerning machine guns, their fire
power and their employment, also a project I had mentioned to
form a Machine Gun Motorised Unit of 16 Guns, this number being
consistent with the ascertained capacity of the Colt Company to
manufacture 303 machine guns within three or four weeks.
Sir Clifford took these papers to Sir Samuel Hugh[e]s then
Minister of Militia and Defense and he explained to him that
all the funds necessary for the contemplated Unit would be
Sir Samuel Hughes gave at once his enthusiastic agreement
to the formation of the Motorised Unit and granted prior right
for its equipment with the Colt machine gun.
After considering the paper dealing with the machine gun
and its fire power, he had extracts published in the Daily
papers and made up his mind to endow each Infantry Battalion
with 4 machine guns instead of two as provided in the
establishment then in force.
He promptly secured an option on practically the entire
production of the Colt Company.
I contacted a few prominent citizens in Montreal. Mr. J.
W. McConnell, Sir Andrew Holt, Sir Vincent Meredith, Mr. Blak
of the Ogilvies and four other gentlemen joined Sir Clifford
Sifton and myself in the subscription of the funds necessary
for the Motorised Unit comtemplated.
Major Jack Sifton, the son of Sir Clifford, took charge of
the relations with the Militia Department concerning
establishments, recruiting of Officers, N.C.O.'s and men, small
arms equipment, uniforms and of many details accruing to the
formation of this extemporised Unit.
Thanks to him, I could hasten the manufacture of machine
guns, the design and construction of motor trucks, the testing
and making of steel to armour them.
The trucks of the Auto Car Company of Ardmore, Pen., were
selected on account of their rugged strength and their flat
horizontal motors . Mr. Clark and Mr. Odlum of the Auto Car
Company fired their workers and the steel makers with the most
helpful spirit, much to my satisfaction.
Twenty-seven days after being ordered, armoured and
service trucks were ready for delivery in Ardmore. Miss Clark
had the kindness to offer to the Brigade an ambulance and this
fine gift, so appropriated, was gladly accepted and proved of
great value in Salisbury Plains.
At the same time, the Colt machine guns were being made
and tested. When ready they were removed by night from Holyoak
on account of the hostile attitude of some workers of the Colt
factory who were of German origin.